Q&A Convert gas fireplace to wood? Chimney man says it's OK.

QandA Posted By QandA, Dec 15, 2002 at 2:20 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    I've recently purchased a 7 year old home 8 months ago and the house was built with a gas fireplace. I had a chimney sweep guy come out to inspect the unit because I wanted to convert it to wood burning. He said that it would be ok and that he could install a gas line to be use as a starter for the wood. He removed the gas pipe and logs and installed the line and instructed me to only use 2 or 3 logs at a time so as not to build a "big" fire.
    So far it's worked good but I've read a few posts here that challenge his information.
    Is that not to be done or is it ok?


    Tom, If your fireplace was originally built or designed to burn wood then converting it back to wood should be ok.
    HOWEVER, if your fireplace is a prefabricated metal fireplace designed only to burn gas, then converting it to wood is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. The firebox and chimney system used on gas fireplaces is very different; these systems can't withstand the temperatures produced by wood burning. The vent system is quite different - gas exhausts consist mainly of moisture and fumes, where burning wood produces flammable and corrosive residues and much higher temperatures that the gas vent cannot withstand.

    Burning wood in a fireplace and vent system designed only for gas will result in a house fire and/or an explosion. Don't burn wood in this fireplace again until you can determine with absolute certainty that it is a wood burning fireplace and chimney system!

    Do you still have the owners manual for the fireplace or the gas logs so you can find the model number and manufacturer? If yours is a prefabricated fireplace, open the louver below the firebox and locate the manufacturer's information on the metal tag.

    Another hint may be the size of the vent pipe. If the pipe is smaller than 8" ID, chances are it's a gas-only unit. Most wood burning pre-fabricated fireplaces are 8-13" ID.
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